After getting a late start to American Red Cross blood drives last school year the students of the National Honor Society at Lakeview High School (LHS) are looking forward to a full year of blood drives in Lakeview while also earning a scholarship for a student at LHS.
Last school year there were only a couple of blood drives at LHS; most of the blood drives planned by the American Red Cross were canceled throughout a good portion of 2020 due to COVID restrictions. This led to a shortage of blood available for people seeking surgery and other treatments where blood is needed.
For the 2020-21 school year it was Sam Sanchez who helped to organize the couple of blood drives that could take place after COVID restrictions began to be loosened and she also won the scholarship handed out at the end of the school year.
The number of pints of blood donated by the community each school year determines the amount of the scholarship for a student at the participating school, in this case LHS.
For the 2021-22 school year Bridget Shullanberger and Sophie Steward, both members of the LHS Honor Society, are working to organize the blood drives and to help choose the recipient of the American Red Cross scholarship.
Shullanberger said a representative from the American Red Cross reached out to LHS to see if they wanted to be involved in the blood drive scholarship program.
There have been blood drives organized by the students at LHS throughout the years, but it generally ebbs and flows based on whether there are students who are part of the Honor Society who wish to organize the event and reach out to students to donate blood.
“We talk to the American Red Cross about what day they will be in Lakeview, and then we get a master schedule from them of what time slots are available and then work on getting students and staff to volunteer,” said Steward.
The blood donated for the scholarship does not just have to come from students. People from the community who donate blood will also have their pints counted toward the final tally to determine how much the scholarship will be. There will be multiple blood drives throughout the year, with the next one tentatively scheduled for early January. While the American Red Cross reaches out to people in the community who have donated blood in the past to see if they wish to donate again, Shullanberger and Steward work together to find volunteers from LHS.
“I work with the teachers to spread the word about the blood drive and I go to classes and give a presentation to students about the importance of giving blood,” said Shullanberger.
Shullanberger said that giving blood is important and told students that there might come a time when they need blood. She encourages students to give blood now to help those in need because one day they might need the help of someone else to give blood for them.
Steward said as members of the Honor Society they are tasked with also providing goodies for the people who give blood and this includes candy bars and snacks.
“It takes a lot of work to put on a blood drive; with the planning and the scheduling. It is a good experience to have,” said Steward.
At the most recent blood drive in Lakeview around 22 students and staff donated, while a number of people from the community also gave blood. Both Steward and Shullanberger are exploring possible career options in the health field, with Steward volunteering at public health and Shullanberger working to get on board volunteering with the ambulance service in Lakeview.
For more information visit redcrossblood.org.